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Health Commun. 2017 Jun 16:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1331312. [Epub ahead of print]

See Something, Say Something: Correction of Global Health Misinformation on Social Media.

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1
a Communication, Culture & Technology , Georgetown University.
2
b Department of Communication , George Mason University.

Abstract

Social media are often criticized for being a conduit for misinformation on global health issues, but may also serve as a corrective to false information. To investigate this possibility, an experiment was conducted exposing users to a simulated Facebook News Feed featuring misinformation and different correction mechanisms (one in which news stories featuring correct information were produced by an algorithm and another where the corrective news stories were posted by other Facebook users) about the Zika virus, a current global health threat. Results show that algorithmic and social corrections are equally effective in limiting misperceptions, and correction occurs for both high and low conspiracy belief individuals. Recommendations for social media campaigns to correct global health misinformation, including encouraging users to refute false or misleading health information, and providing them appropriate sources to accompany their refutation, are discussed.

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